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EU Irish language recognition is a victory for campaigners - Bairbre de Brún MEP

13 June, 2005

Ms de Brún made her comments after the Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern announced that the language had been accorded official status, albeit with a derogation sought by the Irish government.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"As an Irish speaker I am obviously delighted that the Irish language has been accorded the status of an official working language of the EU. Today's announcement is a victory for campaigners from all over Ireland and further afield who continue to campaign for equality for the language.

"Sinn Féin has made the recognition of the Irish language at EU level a party priority and has campaigned long and hard with other Irish speakers and Irish language organisations.

"As expected, the other member states unanimously endorsed what was sought by the Irish government. Sinn Féin will continue to monitor the impact of the derogation sought by the Irish government and the pace of practical improvement in the status of the language and its speakers.

"Whilst recognition of the language in an international context is symbolic, it is also much more than that. The positive impact of this decision will be hugely influential for the one million plus Irish speakers and learners in this country, as well as opening up further employment opportunities for Irish speakers.

"I want to pay tribute to all those involved in the STÁDAS campaign for their hard work and determination, which undoubtedly moved the Irish government to act on this issue. Today's announcement is a major step forward in the Stádas campaign. This is a day to celebrate for Irish speakers and campaigners." ENDS

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